Message From The Author

Author's Message

Living in a Dream World


By Elissa Petruzzi

For many of us, doctor's offices are places of anxiety or boredom. For Teresa Medeiros, it was a place of inspiration.

"I went to see my physician for my annual physical," Medeiros relates. "She's a very sensible lady, and she jokingly said, 'Why don't you write a book about a really practical sister who doesn't believe in vampires?' My whole mind just took off from there."

That conversation led to the creation of the Cabot sisters, who tangle with undead brothers in her most recent novels, After Midnight (Avon, Sep. '05) and its sequel, this month's The Vampire Who Loved Me (Avon).

Medeiros, an only child herself, says, "I only get to have sisters through my fiction. I'm living out my dream that way. When you're an only child you tend to have plenty of imaginary friends. If you have a really good imagination, you may be lonely, but you're never alone."

The Cabots stretch their own imaginations as they find passion and adventure with the mysteriously averse-to-sunlight Kane brothers. And while Caroline was the protagonist of book one, the sequel centers around Portia, who in book one became smitten with vampire brother Julian. The two were even locked in a crypt together, though Medeiros left readers in the dark about what took place in the room.

"I started getting all these letters and e-mails saying, 'What happened? What happened?' And I realized ... I didn't know!" she says. "I was literally in the middle of writing The Vampire Who Loved Me before I figured out what had happened. My jaw dropped."

Letting imaginary characters dictate a book may seem risky to some, but it's all worth it for Medeiros. "To me, that's when the magic happens, when the characters come to life and start telling their own story," she says. "They're completely real to me. They're as real to me as people I know."

New to letting bloodsuckers run her subconscious -- these two books are her first foray into the vampire genre -- Medeiros often inserts paranormal touches into her historical novels. A fan of Stephen King and Harry Potter books, she has always had an interest in all things spooky.

One might even say that Medeiros jumped ahead of the paranormal curve when she penned her first paranormal novel, Breath of Magic, in 1986, though it wasn't until what
she calls the "the first paranormal boom" of the mid-1990s that readers got to see her witchy side.

"I started that book when nobody would touch paranormal with a 10-foot pole," she says. "It was the second book I wrote, but it ended up in the drawer for
10 years." Medeiros recounts how the time-traveling novel about witches was rejected by a number of publishers before Bantam finally released it in 1996.
Mainly a writer of historical romances, Medeiros hops not only genres but also time periods. "I have a very short attention span, so I've written everything -- ancient Ireland, Georgian, Regency, pirates and one western," she says.

The one thing that always holds her attention, however, is her writing. "I knew the first time I sat down to write a short story, which I guess was probably in the ninth grade. It just felt like I was doing what I was made for," says Medeiros, who cut her writing chops while working a day job as a psychiatric nurse. "It just felt right. Like I was fulfilling my destiny."

Another thing that felt like destiny -- and deserves focus -- was meeting her husband of 22 years, Michael, at nursing school in Kentucky. "It was our very last semester! We almost missed each other," she laughs.

Of course, writing steamy novels with dreamy heroes allows Medeiros and her active imagination to experience the flush of new love more often than most happily married women. "I always fall in love with my heroes. That's a big part of a successful book for me," she says, although she swears her husband doesn't get jealous -- so long as the checks keep coming in.

"I always say I've got the best job in the world because I get to fall in love with a gorgeous new guy every year but still keep my wonderful marriage."

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